Reviews by Forceflow
It's varied enough to be entertainingForceflow | Aug. 7, 2013 | Review of Duke Nukem Forever
Of course this was slashed in the reviews. No game could live up to that long of a wait. And yes, it constantly bounces between locations, gameplay styles and comical tone.
But it's this variation that keeps it interesting. You can basicly see all the patchwork they did to make this Frankenstein-y cross-section of FPS history. The guns work, the baddies go down, and the length is just fine. Most of the humor is tongue-in-cheek pop culture references, but the over-the-top-ness makes it enjoyable.
Pick this up at a low price, sit back and enjoy.
The blueprint for all current-gen open world gamesForceflow | Aug. 7, 2013 | Review of Grand Theft Auto IV
What's left to say about this one ... thanks to the passage of time and the incremental hardware updates ironed out the performance problems (yet, don't expect to play this comfortably on a laptop with built-in graphics or something like that).
All the traditional Rockstar elements are there: great voice acting, a fantastic soundtrack, a big city to explore, a long story with interesting characters, and the usual slow climbing-up in the criminal hierarchy. Some of the side missions (taking out your girlfriend or cousin) can be quite tedious, but the overall gameplay is just great.
Pick this up, it's a classic up to par with Vice City.
Different from Sanctum 1, but still a very good gameForceflow | Aug. 7, 2013 | Review of Sanctum 2
It's a bit of a different game from Sanctum 1 (which I prefer over this one), but still brings a lot of great stuff to the table.
There's a tower cap, but enemies are a lot less bullet-spongy, so it doesn't really matter. There are some very hard missions in single-player, but they're constantly balancing the game; Strategy and tower placement is very vital in this title, as is actually using your guns, which sometimes seemed unnecessary in the first one.
Sanctum 2 also is very co-op oriented, and even random pubs usually are a lot of fun. You can transfer resources between players, and the beating a map with 4 people is a great way to exchange ideas and tactics.
Coffee Stain Studios also actively listens to the community, so the game is constantly tweaked and updated, with lots of good DLC on the way.
One of the best games when it comes to storytellingForceflow | July 5, 2013 | Review of Bastion [Playfire]
From the beautifully hand-painted environments, to the truly great voice acting (think barry white ... but more sensual!), to the fun and diverse weaponry, Bastion is an absolute indie gem.
The story is interesting, the action ebbs and flows greatly, and this game deserves high praise for its music. The theme song (Zia's theme) truly shines. I even played it to people who didn't know the game, and they were interested immediately.
The isometric navigation takes a bit of time to get used to, but since falling down / taking a wrong step doesn't really have a penalty, it's very forgiving.
Play this. Recommended.
A zombie game that doesn't take itself too seriouslyForceflow | July 2, 2013 | Review of Dead Rising 2
This is a great zombie game, because instead of the usual post-apocalyptic drab brownish environments, you get to have fun in a Las Vegas-style casino mall. Colorful, fun and full of great detail.
The environment is not very big, but every trip to a certain map location is inherently dangerous. Save points (toilets) are spread out sparingly, and the zombies (even on normal difficulty) can really get you when you're stuck in a mob.
The real core of the game's fun is weapon combinations - you're actively encouraged to try out new combinations (though most ingredients can be found in the vicinity of the work bench), and discovering a new one is very fun. Weapons wear off rapidly though, so every playthrough is a frantic scavenger hunt for new weapon elements. The actual shooting weapons don't have a lot of ammo, and it's clear that this game is a melee-focused zombie brawler.
The story and graphics do not stand out - both are passable.
I'd say, pick it up at a discount price. If you're not having fun when bashing a zombie's head in with two chainsaws strapped to a paddle, you're dead inside. Like a zombie. Teehee.
Guns, stats and more gunsForceflow | July 2, 2013 | Review of Borderlands 2
It's hard to pinpoint what exactly makes Borderlands 2 so interesting. If you've played the first game, let's get it out of the way: this is more of the same. Same gameplay, same quality, same fun.
And that fun comes from the colorful (both literally and in character) NPC's, the varied locations and enemies. Some of the enemies are quite the bullet spunges, but that's where Borderlands' other major gameplay element comes in: weapon stats. You're always looking for a rarer, more damage-y weapon. More loot. Always more loot. It's almost dull, but the varied missions and great humor in the plot always keep you going for one more.
The character classes are varied enough, and there's some powers and upgrades for every play style. I'm a sniper afficionada, so my playthrough as assassin made me switching between far-away sniping and up-close confrontation with my katana. It felt natural, and the replay value of the game really increases with these diverse characters.
I'm a bit of a single-player oriented gamer myself (things can get pretty hectic when playing with 3 additional strangers hoovering up all the loot), and I had a whale of the time with the main storyline, sinking about 30 hours into it. That's great value for a game.
Why is it so addictive? Nobody knows. But it surely is.
A triumphant return of Turn-Based StrategyForceflow | June 28, 2013 | Review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I wasn't familiar with the original, but I found XCOM to be an absolute gem. It has a really addictive "just one more turn" quality to it, and the missions are nicely structured and paced to build up to the finale.
There's pretty much endless replayability here, since enemies always spawn in different places, the squad you get will depend on some random factors (who gets to be a sniper, support, ...) and the order in which you research stuff also heavily impacts the game.
It runs very smooth on the U3 engine, nothing too fancy there - cinematics are pre-rendered. The action shots (when you shoot an alien/ are under fire) are pretty well staged though, and add to the action-y feel of the game.
The overall B-movie aesthetic is also very much present, and a welcome addition to the all-too-serious mainstream games of nowadays.
Recommended, even if you're not a big Turn-Based-Strategy buff. I'm not, and I thoroughly enjoyed this.
A great sequel that improves on its predecessorForceflow | June 27, 2013 | Review of Metro: Last Light
I loved the first Metro game, and this simply is more of the same, with some additional tweaks.
Gameplay-wise, it's a pretty linear corridor shooter, but for once, I don't use "corridor" as a negative term - there's enough variation in enemies and environment setup. It also helps that everything is rendered beautifully. This truly is a game which makes the PC shine. The use of dynamic lighting (flashlight) is truly atmospheric, and is used in gameplay efficiently.
The weapons pack a nice punch, and the little effects (gas mask cracks, dirt wiping, ...) really add to the feel of the game.
Recommended, but make sure your PC packs the punch to run it - although it probably runs fine on lower settings as well. Overall performance is much more balanced than the original Metro game.
A dissapointmentForceflow | June 6, 2013 | Review of Death Rally
Bought this game because I really liked Renegade Ops, but this is a bit of a different beast. I expected more from Remedy.
You're basicly racing around a circular track, and the one thing that immediately struck me was: these cars don't go very fast. You really don't have any sense of speed, even when using the nitro boost. Also, the default gun auto-fires, taking away the fun from combat from you. Combat mode also is just spinning around in circles trying to get a hit on your opponent, but not in a fun way.
In the graphics department, it's okay. Nothing too special there. The music was pretty good, uplifting rock, but got repeated waaay too often.
I'd recommmend you only buy this if it's at a bargain price. I bought it, played it for one hour, then removed it again. Just not having fun.
There's nothing like RaptureForceflow | June 6, 2013 | Review of BioShock
For me, this game is up there with the Half-Life series when it comes to engaging, atmospheric storytelling. From the moment you arrive in the underwater city of Rapture, you're entranced by the wonderful art-deco architecture, the signs that this was once a thriving city, and the state of decay all the beautiful locations are in.
You'll never forget your first encounter with a Big Daddy, and the scrapfights with the splicers can get pretty feisty, too. The combat is very meaty, and it's one of the few games where a second playthrough, using other weapons and powers, felt like it added value.
The pacing is slower than your average shooter, but that's because the level design demands to be gazed upon. On higher difficulties, it's also absolutely necessary to dig around for extra supplies.
In the visual department, it holds up pretty well when compared to today's standards. This was one of the first games to fully use the power of the Unreal 3 engine, with advanced water effects and good rendering of wet surfaces. Lighting also plays a very important role in this game, and it's executed beautifully.
Pick this up ASAP, you owe it to yourself.
This game got waaay too much flakForceflow | June 1, 2013 | Review of Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days
This way got waaay to much bad press because of the camera effects. Never understood why - they can all be turned off pretty easily.
The game is a standard action-packed tale, with enough variety in the environments and enemies to keep it interesting. The enemy AI is pretty dumb, but their numbers more than make up for it.
The story is interesting, but nothing you haven't seen before. The game can be described as a Michael Mann film: lots of shooty-shooty bits and a thin plot to tie them all together.
Honestly, it's perfectly allright. The shooting and cover system is functional, the game doesn't look too bad, and it's pretty short (6h). Pick up at a cheap price and enjoy, is my advice!
A classic that aged very wellForceflow | June 1, 2013 | Review of F.E.A.R
Now here's a game I recently re-played, and it immediately struck me how well it aged. The graphics and particle effects still are pretty impressive, and the shadow effects (although they are hard shadows) are put to great use. Nothing beats the trill of activating slow-motion, bursting through a room, and sending 3 or 4 baddies flying.
The enemy AI also is praised, and is far more advanced than most of what you find today: they will try to flank you, make good use of grenades, notice your flashlight, ...
The game also is geniuinely scary at times, although I am a sucker when it comes to creepy Japanese girls twising reality.
Very recommended for every action fan - at original launch, the game needed a beastly machine to run well, but now, a couple of years down the line, I'm pretty sure everyone can enjoy this at maximum settings - as it should be experienced.
A hypnotizing side-scrollerForceflow | May 13, 2013 | Review of Sine Mora
This was one of the first side-scroller / 2.5D games I bought, and it was a pleasant surprise. The game is pretty brutal on higher difficulty curves, but that's what it's all about.
The action is fast-paced, and you've got a couple of secondary weapons to light your opponent up real quick - your health also functions as a time limit: get hit, lose time to get to the next checkpoint. It works well and really forces you to focus.
Some nagging about the checkpoint system though: some checkpoints are waaaay to far apart, which often makes for some frustrating replays.
What really shines is the environment design during the levels - the background details are amazing, and when the camera turns for a next action sequence, you really get to appreciate the work that went into the steampunk-inspired world
Also of note are the boss designs - you meet an average of 2=3 bosses per level, and they really range from great mechanical beasts to angry-looking trains. Lovely.
A recommendation, even if you're just starting in the side-scrolling shoot-em-up world.
Always cranked up to 11Forceflow | May 13, 2013 | Review of Saints Row: The Third dns
Saints Row: The Third is an open world game that always cranks up the volume to 11. It's over the top, all the way from from start to finish
It already starts at the outrageous customization options. Fat girl wearing a bodysuit and using a giant sex toy as a weapon? Gotcha. It does allow you to tinker with your character to the extreme, and it makes most of the cutscenes pretty enjoyable, when you see your creation blurt out some serious lines while wearing the silliest outfits.
The action itself is decent, on the same level as GTA4. You've got your arsenal of weapons, cars, helicopters and planes. Most certainly in the latter part of the game, the vehicular manslaughter really turns it up a notch. An impressive number of cars and explosions can be triggered on-screen, which is nice. The overall sandbox is about the size of Liberty City, with some islands connected by bridges.
What I liked about SR3 is how the game doesn't feature a super-slow start in which you gradually learn everything: 2 or 3 missions in and you're already dangling from a helicopter shooting rockets. There's still a real sense of progression though, as performing kills and style moves lets you unlock new powers.
Game plays fine using mouse & keyboard, but felt more comfortable to me with a 360 gamepad. The PC version runs fine, but higher quality settings (especially the SSAO) can be taxing.
A masterpiece you should definitely playForceflow | April 26, 2013 | Review of BioShock (RoW)
The opening sequence of this game ranks between the best in video game history, right up there with the iconic Black Mesa train ride.
Your first hour in Rapture will just consist of soaking up the atmosphere: the great art-deco design, listening to audio logs, contemporary music, ... You really believe that this underwater utopia was once a living, breathing city, which makes the contrast with what your're about to unleash within its nautical environment shine brighter.
The combat is a combination of standard shooting and magic-like powers (fire, freeze, ...) It's frantic and fast-paced, in a good way.
The story is engaging, and the NPC's you meet along the way all have their unique back story and terrific voice acting.
Due to its inventive use of the Unreal Engine 3, this game has aged brilliantly: dynamic shadows, wet surface effects ... put to great use.
Life of a ganster (boring parts included!)Forceflow | April 26, 2013 | Review of Mafia II dns
Now, here's a game which does a lot right: style, music, atmosphere ... it really puts you in that time period during your slow ascend to mob leadership. Cutscenes and voice acting only add to the experience.
Texturework and lighting in this game really shines, though the city is quite repetitive and hard to navigate just on visual cues alone.
It's hard not to compare this game to GTA4, but the comparison doesn't shine in Mafia's favor. Main problem: a lot of the (non-main-plot) missions are basicly just playing taxi for people, which is a bit infuriating. I also get the impression that the melee combat system really was designed with controllers in mind, since on PC, it consists of practicly throwing your mouse to the other side of the room. A pity. Shooting is your standard cover-based combat, and is meaty enough to entertain.
I sunk 18 hours into this game, had fun, but the replayability is severely limited by a couple of boring missions.
Meaty combat, open-world funForceflow | April 26, 2013 | Review of Dead Island
An open world game which is pretty addicting: always playing a little bit longer to get that weapon upgrade, to collect more crafting stuff, ...
Story is forgettable and the quests are all fetch/escort/... - your standard stuff.
The combat is pretty satisfactory - when weapons connect to zombie flesh, it really is fun to fight hordes of the undead.
I had fun with it, sunk a good 25 hours into the main storyline in single-player, and again in co-op. This is one of those games that's mediocre at the baseline, but really gets fun with friends.